In his craze for business deals, President Donald Trump chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. He was treated like a celebrity and he loved it. He was gifted with a military sales deal of about US$110 billion – effective immediately – plus another US$350 billion over the next 10 years when he visited Saudi Arabia last year.
Trump was decorated like a Christmas tree with the gold King Abdulaziz medal, as the ailing King Salman insisted that the 4-month old Trump administration be honoured for “his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world.” The U.S. president will get to rub shoulders with Mohammed bin Salman when he kickstarts his visit to the U.S. next week.
When Saudi Arabia’s crown prince visits the White House next week, he’s expected to be welcomed as a reformer who’s improved women’s rights in one of the most restrictive countries in the world, allowing them to drive and attend sports events. But in an explosive revelation by NBC News, there’s one very important woman still suffers in silence.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old favourite son of Saudi King Salman, is exposed of locking this woman – his own mother. At least 14 U.S. officials unveiled how the young, ambitious and impulsive prince prevented his mother from seeing his father, King Salman, for more than 2 years so that his plan to empower himself would not be jeopardised.
The U.S. officials who spilled the beans claimed that based on several years of intelligence, concluded that Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS – took the action against his mother because he was concerned that she opposed his plans for a power grab that could divide the royal family and might use her influence with the king to prevent it.
Just when you were wondering what had happened to the Muslim brotherhood, especially among the princes and princesses in the House of Saud after the fake corruption crackdown, now it appears the crown prince was willing to do anything for power.Without the king’s knowledge, MBS placed his mother under “house arrest” at a palace in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
To conceal the whereabouts of his wife, King Salman was falsely told that she’s out of the country receiving medical treatment, so that the king would not know his son has been behind her continued absence. The report of the crown prince’s ruthlessness was based on a combination of human intelligence, intercepts and information shared with the U.S. from other countries.
The U.S. officials said the king has told people around him that he misses her wife and apparently does not know her true location or status. At one point during a meeting at the White House in September 2015, King Salman told then-President Barack Obama that his wife was in New York for medical treatment and that he hoped to visit her while in the U.S.
Of course, Obama did not inform the king that his wife was actually not in New York at all, but the king’s comment was viewed as further evidence of what U.S. officials already had gathered from intelligence on the royal family. In early 2016, U.S. intelligence picked up communications in which MBS was talking about his efforts to keep his mother from his father without the king knowing.
The brutality of the crown prince towards his own mother, Princess Fahda bint Falah Al Hathleen, the third wife of King Salman, was first made known to former President Barack Obama. And Trump administration is believed to have also been briefed by the U.S. intelligence of what type a person the future king of Saudi is. But that didn’t bother Trump at all.
Trump has little respect for human rights. The White House announced Monday that the president will meet with the crown prince on March 20, saying Trump “looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia and to advance our common security and economic priorities.”
A month after Trump’s visit to Saudi in 2017, the crown prince imprisoned his older cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, after usurping him as crown prince in June 2017. He subsequently jailed several of his cousins in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel during what the Saudi government claimed was a widespread anti-corruption drive. However, those arrested were presented with cash-for-freedom offer.
Emboldened by his extremely close relationship with President Trump and Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump, this exposure will not change Trump administration view of the future Saudi King since the priority of Trump has been, and will be, business. Both Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed also share a common enemy – Iran.
Crown Prince Mohammed isn’t shy about acquiring nuclear weapons for his kingdom. The world’s biggest oil exporter has previously said it only wants nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but it is unclear whether it also wants to enrich uranium to produce nuclear fuel, which can be used to produce atomic weapons. If Iran develops its own nuclear weapons, the prince wants it too.
Interestingly, in his latest interview with “CBS This Morning”, the crown prince calls Iranian Ayatollah Khamenei the “new Hitler” of the Middle East. He said – “Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realise how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened.” Perhaps Crown Prince Mohammed is the real “Hitler” that Trump didn’t realise?